EC Report: Bulgaria has Made Progress, but Still More Work is Needed
The Commission can not conclude that the indicators have been fulfilled.
The European Commission today presented the new progress report on Bulgaria under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism. The Commission's 17 recommendations in the January report are announced.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans said: "We have seen progress in many areas but there is still more work needed. Bulgaria has met or made progress on several of our recommendations, but not yet all. I count on the Bulgarian Government to implement all the planned reforms, and to avoid backtracking, so that we can move towards the goal of ending the CVM under this Commission's mandate."
The Commission's last report in January 2017 took stock of overall progress in the past ten years and identified 17 specific recommendations which would help Bulgaria move towards fulfilment of all CVM benchmarks. Today's report notes that significant progress has been achieved on these recommendations. While political uncertainty led to some delays in the implementation of reforms early in the year, the reform process has regained momentum since May, even if final outcomes are still to be seen in areas requiring legislative reform and government action, such as the fight against corruption. In the judiciary, important developments have also taken place this year, notably with the election of a new Supreme Judicial Council, the impact of which should begin to show in the coming year.
While the Commission cannot yet conclude that any of the benchmarks are satisfactorily fulfilled, it remains of the opinion that, with a continued political steer and a determination to advance the reform, Bulgaria should be able to fulfil the outstanding recommendations, and therefore satisfactorily meet the CVM benchmarks, in the near future. The Commission will assess progress again towards the end of 2018.
The EC will publish its progress report on Bulgaria
"The final results are still to be seen in areas requiring legislative reforms and government action, such as the fight against corruption." This year, important changes have also been made to the judiciary, especially the election of the new Supreme Judicial Council. This step should begin to manifest in the coming year, "the document says.
Although the EC can not yet conclude that the indicators have been satisfactorily fulfilled, it remains of the view that, with continuous political guidance and resolve to make progress on the reform, Bulgaria should be able to fulfill the remaining recommendations and respond satisfactorily to indicators in the near future.
The Commission will assess progress again by the end of next year.
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